The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2013 can be simplified significantly.
The European Commission and member states have long agreed that the CAP needs to be simplified. The member states formulated a number of principles for the simplified policy in the spring of 2011. These principles specified net cost reduction, risk-based controls, proportionality to controls and penalties, discretion and flexibility for the member states in the implementation of the regulations, transparency and clarity of the regulations, roles and responsibilities, and maximum use of (IT) technology. The European Commission was requested to take account of these principles when formulating the proposals for the CAP post-2013. LEI's study reviews issues including the question whether this request has been honoured.
Although the principles recommended by the member states are to some extent reflected in the European Commission's proposals, their influence is limited. Moreover, the effects of the proposals for the simplification of the policy will vary greatly between farmers and other beneficiaries, the national governments and the European Commission (see the figure). The effects could also differ greatly between member states. The national governments will, above all, be confronted with increased costs on the introduction of the proposed system of direct payments.
The proposals for small farmers and for greening, the common indicators and cross-compliance, in particular, will not result in simplification. The proposal for small farmers should be of a voluntary nature and the proposal for greening needs to be tailored closer to the local circumstances.
Although the proposals for direct payments do offer scope for development, the researchers have a more favourable opinion on the proposals for the market and pricing policy and the rural development policy. However, further simplifications are also feasible in these areas, for example in the common monitoring and evaluation framework for the rural development policy.
The researchers emphasise that the simplification principles not only need to be adopted to a greater extent in the draft regulations adopted by the European Council and the European Parliament, but also need to be adopted during the formulation of the subsequent Commission regulations (delegated and implementing acts) for the further detailing and implementation of the CAP.